Arthur's Story

"The Metamorphosis of a Rescued Horse"

Arthur - Christmas 1993

Arthur - Christmas 1993

Christmas 1993

The gelding stood that winter in the wind and rain with the urine- and manure- filled mud burning at the delicate pink skin beneath the four white socks hidden by the filth.  He had arrived one month before, and each week the truck would come to take 46 of his pasture mates to destinations unknown, but none of them ever came back.  The gelding had no way of knowing each time that truck came and left without him -- meant his day would soon come -- he too was one step away from being shipped to a Texas slaughterhouse.

He'd been brought to a local auction house by a woman who had said she'd used him for team penning, and one of the horse rescue volunteers had ridden him when he had arrived.  Boy was he a sight to see then, before the mud and rain, tail flagged, head high, and looking about to make sure all were looking at this lovely, proud boy.

Each week it became clearer to him that the woman was not coming to get him ... each day his head seemed to hang lower, and lower in the knowledge that something was very, very wrong.  No one came with carrots -- to blanket him -- he had to fight his way through the crowd of others to get to the food.  When would the truck come again ... when would HE be prodded and whipped forward on to the metal floor with 45 others, and head for the horrors of a lonely, terrifying end?

The gelding didn't know that the pink ribbon in his mane was a signal -- not a guarantee, but a signal.  The volunteers from Equus Sanctuary had placed it there -- it told the horsetrader they wanted him -- they would try to get the money together to pay his ransom.  Still ... if the truck came and he was short one good sized horse to make the load for Texas, the pink ribbon meant nothing.

Arthur - March 1994

Arthur - March 1994 Arthur - March 1994

On Saturday morning 2.5 months later, a truck did come to get him ... but it was his miracle truck!!  There were several people from the Equus Sanctuary and people with cameras!  A woman had come to the feedlot with several thousand dollars and pointed to eight horses she wanted to save ... including the gelding.  The people with cameras were from a TV show called "Hard Copy" and the gelding's miracle would be shown to millions of people!!  He and the other seven were individually and carefully loaded on to a huge stock trailer with bags of hay hanging on either side.  "Oh, this is wonderful!!  Lots of food and room ... and a dry place to be!!!"

The gelding was brought to another strange place with people who paid a lot of attention to him -- the next day two nice ladies spent three hours bathing him -- it took several bottles of shampoo, and lathering and rinsing to find the gem underneath the filth.  He stood there while they did their work -- patiently ground tied for the time it took to get him clean.  His winter coat had been unable to fall away and as they softened the mud they would pull huge sections of it off. The pink skin under the four white socks was fire engine red from the burns of the ammonia.

The two women worked and worked.  As they uncovered the gentle boy underneath one remarked, "I feel like we are doing frog-to-prince magic!"  There was already a resident at the sanctuary named Prince, and so the bay gelding came to be known as King Arthur -- or now, Arthur.

Arthur - March 1994, "Post Bath"

Arthur - "Post Bath"

After the big bath day!!  The metamorphosis of the bay gelding had taken a giant step forward .  Underneath the layers of mud was a gentle, lovely soul who immediately showed his picky eating habits.  For the first few weeks his mouth remained taut and his uncertainty always at the surface.  He became the project and special friend of one of the Equus' volunteers -- and a few weeks later when she moved onto a property with horse facilities she took Arthur home with her.  The day he was taken on the two mile ride from the Sanctuary to his new home he didn't want to get on the trailer ... not another new place.  By the time they arrived, he was drenched in a sweat of fear.

Arthur - "In The Summertime"

Arthur - "In The Summertime"

But in the next few weeks Arthur settled as he realized his new friend cared for him and catered to his every whim!!! Slowly he put on weight, his skin and coat began to shine again. His energy and confidence returned and he began to think that maybe this was an okay place to be.

Arthur and His New Friend

Arthur and His New Friend

That summer Arthur and his new friend explored the hills and canyons near their home -- brave, bold, and ready for fun -- the other horses in the neighborhood ATE HIS DUST!!!  Neither Arthur or his new human yet realized the depth of the friendship that was to form -- a bond and understanding beyond mere words.

By September of that year, Arthur's limitations began to show as a lameness appeared -- several veterinary opinions agreed -- arthritis and the accompanying ringbone in the right front pastern.  The gelding was sure he'd be thrown away again -- this is why the first woman took him to that awful auction and how he ended up at that other terrible place.  Each day he waited for a trailer to come and get him -- but it never did.  He was allowed to rest and most days when his new friend was cleaning and working around the horse facilities Arthur was allowed to just roam around the property.

He had a lot of friends nearby and many toys to play with.  Arthur turned out to be a clown extraordinaire -- twirling lead ropes, and stall balls that frequently came flying over the fence when he let them go.  His new friend spent a few minutes each day finding where his toys had ended up and putting them back in his big stall.  It didn't matter to her that he couldn't take her for rides, in fact they went on hikes together!  That year when the rains came, he had a comfy rain proof blanket and was put in a warm stall filled with deep shavings -- and every night his new friend would wrap his arthritic leg to keep it warm.

Ah, this is the life I was meant to have!!

Today: Arthur and His Friend, RoseAnn

Arthur and Rose Ann

That was almost four years ago.  Today, Arthur still lives with me -- RoseAnn, founder and director of Arabian Horse Rescue Network.  He went through a period of being lightly rideable and then one day when he was playing hard, as Arthur always does, he re-aggravated another old leg injury.  So Arthur is now the official equine big dog of the house.  Arthur may not be full Arab, but he certainly has much Arabian blood in him.  It is that part of him that turned me into an Arabian horse fan.  I still turn him out when I am cleaning and he just hangs out with me.  If ever I am in his reach, he nibbles and grooms me ... or pulls on my loose clothing.  Arthur and I have several games.

Often I have asked him, "Arthur, where were you when I was a little girl ... you should have been the horse I had then."  I did not have a horse when I was little, but the love and passion for them was there.  For all those years I cried and prayed for a horse of my own, God has given me Arthur now -- and because of this very special friend -- I think God and I are even ... it was worth the wait.


For Further Information:

Write Us! Arabian Horse Rescue Network
P.O. Box 4603
Sunland, CA 91041-4603
Phone: 818-353-9577

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